Your Guide to the Highest-Paying Jobs in Malaysia

Financial stability and growth opportunities are important factors to consider when building a career. According to a study by Ranstad Malaysia, 74% of Malaysians prioritise salary and benefits, especially with the rising inflation and cost of living, while another study shows that professionals making career moves in 2023 expect a 20% to 30% jump in salary.

And with 82% of Malaysians on the lookout for new job opportunities and 68% interested in changing their industry, role, or career path, it is safe to say that the job market is highly competitive, with many vying for the most lucrative positions.

The Malaysian Job Market and Opportunities

In 2021, the mean wage for Malaysians went up by 3.5% to RM3,037. Following a stronger-than-expected recovery in 2022, Malaysia’s economy was projected to expand by 4% in 2023. Salaries are also expected to increase by 5% within 2023.

With these positive outlooks, the job opportunities for Malaysians to explore are growing. Certain occupations categorised as critical, such as Managing Directors, Chief Executives, Finance Managers, and Information and Communications Managers, are high-demand jobs and offer more competitive salaries due to the shortage of qualified candidates. At the same time, qualified candidates can expect the highest compensation from industries such as Telecommunication, Insurance, Banking & Finance, Electrical/Electronics, and Oil & Gas.

But what are the top-paying jobs in Malaysia? Based on a report by Michael Page Group, the jobs with the best earning potential include:

1. C-suite roles

Executive positions in Malaysia are some of the highest-paid jobs, with salaries ranging from RM300,000 to RM620,000 per year in various industries. Job functions such as Chief Risk Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Procurement Officer now have the potential to be among the highest paid in the C-suite, highlighting their growing importance. 

2. Head of Shared Services Centre

Malaysia has emerged as a hub for shared services in APAC, with many multinational companies outsourcing functions such as finance, IT, legal, and human resources to centres in Malaysia. As such, skilled shared service professionals, especially senior leaders, can earn an average salary of RM540,000 annually. 

3. Procurement Director  

Procurement professionals manage a company's item and service needs, and as the role increases in complexity and requirements, the salary also goes up. A high-level procurement professional can negotiate an average salary of between RM300,000 to RM504,000 a year.

4. Medical Director  

A medical director is a skilled medical professional – such as an experienced doctor or surgeon  – with leadership responsibilities. As they oversee the operations of a medical facility, this qualifies them to earn an average salary of RM480,000 per year.

5. Head of Corporate Banking  

Corporate and commercial bankers, as well as bank managers, can expect good compensation, with the Head of Corporate Banking earning an average salary of RM450,000 per year.

6. Managing Director of Operations  

As Malaysia's Engineering & Manufacturing sector grows, companies seek senior managers who can optimise technology to enhance productivity. Equipped with these skills, a Managing Director of Operations in this sector can expect to earn up to RM450,000.

7. Head of Sales  

A company's sales team plays a critical role. In certain sectors, such as Engineering & Manufacturing or Healthcare & Pharmaceutical, the Head of Sales can earn a salary of between RM450,000 and RM500,000 annually.  

8. Finance Director  

Finance Directors are well-paid for their extensive responsibilities, earning between RM324,000 and RM420,000 annually in sectors like Business Services, Digital & Technology, FMCG, and Healthcare & Pharma.

9. Senior Insurance Manager  

Those in the role of Senior Insurance Manager are highly valued and generously compensated. On average, they can earn an impressive salary of RM390,000 per year.

10. Engineering Director  

Those with technical expertise in Engineering & Manufacturing earn higher average salaries than in many other professions. Engineering Directors with technical competencies and good managerial skills can earn between RM336,000 to RM360,000 a year.

Additionally, the Jobstreet 2022 Salary Report listed the following as the top 10 salaries in Malaysia by industry and position level:Other than these jobs, Human Resource Managers, Project Managers, Software Engineers, and Information Technology professionals are also highly sought after, with respectable and lucrative salaries on offer. However, it is important to note that salaries can vary depending on location, company size, and the years of experience you have.

In the future, high-demand jobs in Malaysia will include data analysis and storytelling, cybersecurity, user experience (UX), artificial intelligence, and digital marketing. These positions require specialised skills and qualifications, and offer competitive salaries and career growth opportunities.

Gaining an Edge in a Competitive Job Market

To stand out and be able to secure a high-earning career, employees need to equip themselves with a multitude of skills. Whether job-specific or general skills, equipping oneself with a future-proof and strong knowledge set is more important than ever.

If you want to pursue a top-paying job in Malaysia, consider obtaining a master's degree to elevate your chances of success. Sunway Online University offers a range of 100% online master's degree programmes that give you the edge you need to get ahead of the competition. 

Schedule a call with our Education Counsellors today to learn more about how a master's degree can help you achieve your career goals, and find the best programme that fits your needs.